It's my birthday today! I'm halfway to 70. Can you believe it? I can't. This is middle age. I don't feel my age, I don't feel grown up, and don't think I look it either. What does 35 even feel like anyway?
Thirty four was a big year. I got married, went overseas, changed jobs - from full time to part time and freelancing - and have been very, very sore. I had my wisdom teeth out, lost friends and had a lot of self doubt. Honestly, I haven't enjoyed every moment of it, but the big moments and achievements definitely made up for the awful times. I made many new wonderful friends and had some great opportunities including being the opening speaker before our former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
I thought it would be a fun thing to do a year in review - reflecting on the writing I've done this year. My friend - talented author - Anna Spargo-Ryan did a year in writing (her novel The Paper House was my favourite book this year, and she should be so proud of all of her achievements!), so I've drawn inspiration from her. It's also a great way to collate my articles so I can send off well overdue invoices to my editor. Plus I'm a procrastinator.
I've included posts I've written for my blog here too. Because although they're not published on a mainstream platform, I'm still proud of them.
This year I started a Patreon account for readers to support me blogging. I know that there are many people who use my work in their academic research and teaching, and even to get advice on how to live with Ichthyosis. If this has helped you, please consider becoming a Patron of my work. You can give a small amount monthly. Think of it as buying me a drink to say thank you.
Articles I've written for the media
In February I wrote about how hard it can be to find a flatmate when you have a facial difference.
March was the month I got married, and I wrote about appearance diversity and wedding planning for Nu Bride.
In June, SBS Life asked me to write about their Dateline episode on child growth attenuation. This was honestly the most complex, emotional thing I've written, and I was scared to put my opinion in this article.
I also wrote about the problems with the film Me Before You, after attending a protest against it. This was for SBS Life as well.
I also wrote about that film, and the wider topic of media representation for Access 2 Arts in September.
July saw the mass murder of 19 Japanese disabled people, and I asked why no one was talking about it I wrote this when I was very unwell, and it was published while I was in hospital. It was shared more than 76,000 times.
Madeline Stuart featured at New York Fashion Week in September, and I interviewed her mum for Ramonaf (and used this in a bigger article on the blog).
In October there was another murder of disabled people - this time children, and I wrote about the media coverage and social media reaction.
I wrote about the 11 year old who is making public transport more accessible. This article was for Kidspot.
On 3 December, for International Day of People with Disability, I wrote for the ABC about navigating the medical system with a rare illness.
That same weekend, I also wrote about the expectation to wear makeup and the fear around not wearing it.
Me in the media
I've also done a lot of media, being invited on podcasts and radio programs, and occasionally being interviewed for articles.
In January I was featured in The Age. The article was on slacktivism.
Following this article, I was invited into ABC 774 to discuss inspiration porn.
A few days before I got married, Clare Bowditch invited me on her show
I was on a panel talking about disruption at She Leads in Canberra in May and featured in a related article in Women's Agenda.
Steve Molk asked me to be on the Humans of Twitter podcast.
That same week I recorded the Aussie Boggers Podcast.
There was a lot of media around the Me Before You protest and I gave interviews to The ABC World Today and ABC News and was quoted in Sydney Morning Herald.
I provided a comment on ableist language for Kidspot.
I chatted with Jenny on the Fully Sick podcast.
Tara Moss asked me to write a passage in her book!
I also chatted on the Osher Günsberg podcast in November.
The best of blogging
I've been blogging a lot less this year, but my readership has gone up. I've found my niche, but some pieces are just to remember what happened at that moment in time. Thank you for being my audience.
Some of my favourite, and most read posts of this year are:
An open letter to The Mighty (and from late last year - The problems with The Mighty and suggestions for improvement)
#FashionAngel - inspired by the photo shoot from The Age
My hens crafternoon - so much fun!
Me Before You - disability as a tragedy - I sat in the movies under a blanket to live tweet my thoughts from this!
I also started a podcast with Jason. It's called Refeeshments Provided and you can listen here.
Thank you for being a reader, for sharing my work and for telling me I've made you think. It means a lot that you here (or elsewhere) to read my thoughts. As mentioned, if you'd like to buy me a drink, you can do so here.
Thank you, and happy birthday to me!